Do we pump the brakes on the workshop too in a slow market?

 

It’s no secret that there’s not a lot of fun being had in premium car showrooms right now. The momentum of the last 5 years has trailed off, seemingly overrun by our collective concern over the changing state of the housing market, apprehension before a looming federal election, and the impact of restrictive new rules around finance in automotive.

As we’ve been told recently by one DP, “it’s like someone’s turning the tap off on every revenue stream we had.”

 

The downturn is real for sure, and uncertainty around the future disruption of automotive sales is more uncomfortable now than ever before.

 

However, if we hear one thing consistently in our travels around the country visiting dealers and talking shop, it’s that most workshops are still chugging along pretty well, some really well even. In a lot of businesses, there’s still at least one revenue stream well and truly holding its own.

 

This shouldn’t be a surprise, not just because of the time-honoured assumption that less cars being sold means more cars being kept and serviced, but because businesses seem to be understanding more than ever before that the money is all in the back end now.

 

That’s right sales-orientated dealers of Australia: if you want to make money in your dealership, you better make sure that aftersales is slick and has the tools to succeed. More than any time in recent memory, aftersales is likely your main breadwinner, and that’s set to continue a while yet, maybe forever.

 

What this means for different businesses and groups all over Australia during the sales slump no doubt varies a lot. For some, it might mean a greater focus on recouping the time technicians take through their day-to-day processes and minimising wasted effort that doesn’t get rewarded; for others, it might mean targeted campaigns to a customer base for parts sales that drive up labour sales too, as we’ve seen from one forward-thinking Sydney based group recently.

 

For many though, it might mean that the impulse to clamp down on total spending in a downturn needs to be weighed differently when it comes to aftersales. If there’s work to be done and customers waiting, but not enough techs on hand to meet demand, it’ll remain an uphill battle to meet the targets every retailer needs to hit now more than ever. It’s all about balancing resources.

 

And it’s not just a question of more techs, but the right techs. Surveying the performance of different teams in our major cities with some helpful service managers, we’re seeing that hiring on attitude often gets the best rewards.

 

That doesn’t simply mean employing techs happy to be at work (which is important), but techs that are ready to work flexibly and intelligently toward the best outcomes. Brand familiarity comes with time, but techs that start on day 1 accustomed to maximising revenue and CSI scores, as well as nailing warranty procedures, are worth their weight in gold.

 

Here at Techs On The Move, this is exactly the sort of tradesperson we’re committed to sourcing for our subscription-based Candidate Pool. If you’d like to know more, please drop Nat Richards a line at nat.richards@techsonthemove.com.au or 0429468754